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Old Mar 26, 2006, 2:05 PM   #1
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I'm after a small robust weatherproof camera. I've asked for recommendations and have mainly been told to go for either the Olympus Stylus 720SW or the Pentax Optio Wpi. I'm used to film cameras – digital is a new world for me so I need all the help I can get. I'm mainly after a camera for holiday/family snaps, but I do mountain biking and hill walking thus the need for robust/weather resistance (so doesn't have to be 100% waterproof). So which one should I go for? They're both waterproof. The Olympus is a bit more expensive than the Pentax, but it's shockproof too, so should be more robust. I also like the lens cover on the Olympus as I means I can carry the camera lose in my pocket without fear of damaging/dirtying the lens. But from the little I've seen of them the menu system on the Pentax seems easier to navigate in a hurry. I've read reports on the Pentax, but the Olympus is so new that there aren't many real world reports. I'd like to hear from users of both, but particularly the Olympus. Has anyone else faced the same decision – what did you decided, did you get it right?
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Old Mar 26, 2006, 3:21 PM   #2
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if you look on www.dpreview.com, there are many threads about the 720sw and the w10 (new and much better version of Wpi). Personally, I would rather have the 720sw, despite the w10 being superior in still pictures as well as video, just being of its ruggedness. I would probably not need the 1 hr waterproof rating up to 3 meters, versus the w10's 30 min and 1.5 meter, but it would be much easier to take surfing with me knowing that it can handle more of what I would get it for.
There are just too many pro's and cons for me to relist. check dpreview.com and look around. there are links to pictures/videos taken by both as well as many more comparisons. if you don't need something that is fully waterproof, check out the other olympus stylus's. I have not seen much on them, but they may be better functioning cameras and they are "weatherproof". good luck picking a camera.

heres a link with many 720sw threads
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/se...fields=subject
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Old Mar 28, 2006, 1:28 AM   #3
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Cantbeyou - thanks for the links, I'll follow these up.

KevinR
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Old Apr 4, 2006, 12:30 AM   #4
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I visited the local camera shop and had a look at the Pentax WPi (W10 not available yet) and the Olympus 720SW – they'd only had the Olympus 720SW that week. Once you'd taken P&P into account the shop's prices were not much more than online retailers, so I decided whatever I got I'd get from the shop. I spent a week researching feedback on the two then I visited the shop a week later. They were extremely helpful at the shop and allowed me to take both cameras outside to try in the bright sunlight. I had initially preferred the Olympus 720SW, but in reality I found the Pentax Wpi was a much neater unit, it was more compact, felt more comfortable in the hand and pocket, and felt the more robust of the two. Also the buttons and switches on the Pentax WPi were for more sturdy than the Olympus 720SW, and easier to use. The power switch on the Olympus 720SW was tiny and quite awkward to use. The zoom on the Pentax WPi was a rocker and easy to use, whereas on the Olympus 720SW it was two small buttons and very awkward to use. I was told the Pentax WPi had toughened glass over the lens so shouldn't get scratched easily, and as the lens was flush with the body it was easy to wipe clean, whereas the Olympus 720SW was behind a moveable cover which meant it was not so easy to clean and the cover itself could get clogged up.



The Olympus 720SW had the better waterproof rating and it was shock rated. They told me at the shop they had sold a number of the Pentax WPis to the local outward-bound school where the cameras no doubt received rough treatment, but they had not had a single camera returned. So perhaps the Pentax WPi was tough enough, even though it wasn't rated.



There was one area where the Olympus 720SW clearly beat the Pentax WPi – the display. The Olympus 720SW display is not only larger, but it is also much easier to see with bright light either behind or in front of it. The Pentax WPi display is not as clear in bright conditions. But the display was the only area the Olympus 720SW beat the Pentax WPi. So overall I decided the Pentax WPi was better and I went for that. It was cheaper too.



They told me at the shop that I could return the Pentax WPi if I decided it was not what I wanted.


I asked about the Pentax W10. This is not available locally yet. I can see that it will be better than the Wpi, but how much better? Should I have waited for the W10 or not? I'll see how I get on with the WPi.
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